Wazwan: Tradition of Ages


WazwanThere are so many references in Rig-Veda and the Nilamat Puraná about Kashmiri’s being meat-eaters.  Much before the references which gives credit to invader from Central Asia in Kashmir of introducing the now very famous Cuisine of Kashmir ‘Wazwan’.

The closed to reference, to what we call “Wazwan” , is connected with the invasion of India by Timur in 1398, followed with the migration of craftsmen and cooks from Smarkand to the Valley of Kashmir.

Kashmir was the only place in the sub-continent where the Hindu population had meat in their cuisine, except beef.  With time, despite the spread of Islam in Kashmir, the meat in the diet of Kashmiri’s continued and beef was never made part of the Wazwan.

As a differentiator, the Muslims opted for goat in their cuisine as compared to lamb, which was part of the diet of the Hindus / Pandits.

The advantage ‘Wazwan’ has over other cuisines from other part of the world is quite unique – first is a combination of various dishes and the traditionally the spices used are boiled and not fried, giving the dishes in a ‘Wazwan’ a distinctive flavoring and aroma.

The traditional number of course (dishes) in a traditional wazwan consists of twenty dishes. Though, less number (around 15) of dishes too can form a Wazwan. Seven dishes are a must, which include – tabakh maaz or Qabargaah, rista, rogan josh, korma (lamb or chicken based), aab gosh, Maithi maaz and Gushtab.

List of main dishes (Across Kashmiri Muslims & Pandits):

  • Maithi maaz
  • Kabab (Minced meat roasted on seekh over hot coal)
  • Daen Phoul (Mutton dish)
  • Riste (meatballs in fiery red gravy)
  • Rogan Josh (lamb cooked with Kashmiri spices)
  • Aab Gosh (Mutton cooked in milk)
  • Lahab Kabab or Moachi Kabab (flattened mutton kabab cooked in yogurt)
  • Waza Kokur (two halves or two full chicken cooked whole)
  • Daniwal Korme (mutton curry with coriander leaves)
  • Marchewangan Korme (an extremely spicy lamb preparation)
  • Yakh’n (Meat balls cooked in yogurt)
  • Runwangan Chaman (cheese cooked with tomatoes)
  • Waze Palak (Green spinach cooked with small meat balls)
  • Doudha Ras(mutton cooked in sweet milkgravy)
  • Tabak Maaz(ribs of lamb simmered in yogurt till tender, then fried, can be served as a snack/side-dish)
  • Gushtaba(this is a velvety textured meatball in white yogurt gravy,a specialty)
  • Dum Aelva(potatoes cooked in yogurt gravy)
  • Muji Chetintin(a sharp radish and walnut chutney)